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Philippines: Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan Rings Bells in Solidarity Against Charter Change

Members of “Koalisyon Laban sa ChaCha” hold a protest against Charter change at Plaza Roma in Intramuros, Manila, on Feb. 22, 2024. (Photo: CBCP NEWS)

In a statement on its social media on Sunday, the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan (AVC), Philippines, announced that on May 22, at 4 p.m., all bells in parishes, chaplaincies, and mission areas under the Vicariate will ring in solidarity with the national People's March and Prayer Against Charter Change.

Caritas Philippines, the social arm of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), is in charge of the initiative and plans to oppose any proposed amendments to the Philippine Constitution.

The Archdiocese of Manila earlier announced its participation through a circular letter by Manila Archdiocesan Chancellor Fr. Isidro Marinay, in which it invited its people to gather in front of the Senate in Pasay City from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday. 

“Our prayers in the Our Mother of Perpetual Help Novena will be offered for our country and leaders,” said Marinay.

The CBCP Caritas Philippines president, Kidapawan Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, said they will strengthen the information campaign among citizens about the downside of charter change, which others downplay.

"In this light, the Episcopal Commission on Social Action—Justice and Peace/Caritas Philippines, as well as the Social Action Network, which is tasked with addressing this issue, would like to continue strengthening our anti-charter change campaign to ensure that our lay faithful are correctly informed and educated about the issues surrounding our Constitution," said Bagaforo.

The organizer expects about 3,000 participants from various parishes and Catholic institutions, including schools in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Bagaforo also appealed to those who could not attend the prayer rally in front of the Senate to simultaneously undertake similar activities in their parishes.

The national Caritas, in its social media post, said the prayer rally is open to all who care for and love the Philippines. 

The CBCP asserts that charter change is not timely.  Instead, it invited the government to come up with policies that can help respond to pressing issues facing the country, like poverty and hunger, and create opportunities for Filipinos, especially farmers and laborers. 

The Wednesday rally coincides with the start of the regional consultations that the Senate undertakes in preparation for its report on whether to change some economic provisions of the Constitution to make them more attractive to foreign investments.

The Senate and House of Representatives will adjourn sessions on May 25 and convene again on July 22.  


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